Withania Somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha, is one of the most popular ancient medicinal herb used in the Ayurveda Medication. Hailing from the family of Solanaceae or nightshades, Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng, Poison Gooseberry or Winter Cherry in different parts of the world. Consumed in a finely powdered form or as a supplement in capsule, the roots, and leaves of this plant are used for the medicinal properties that they possess. Effective in making the immune system strong, consuming Ashwagandha is also said to have positive effects on lowering the blood pressure.
Benefits of Ashwagandha in Diabetes
1. Reduces blood sugar levels
Having hypoglycemic (lowered blood-sugar levels) and hypolipidemic (lowered cholesterol) effects in our body, Ashwagandha is also an effective remedy to increase the level of insulin secretion and sensitivity in the muscle cells. A recent study titled ‘Hypoglycemic activity of withanolides and elicitated Withania somnifera’ says that this herb has been used in the traditional medicine to cure diabetes and has a therapeutic effect on diabetic patients.
2. Reduces High Cortisol Levels
Responsible for the proper functioning of the body and energy generation, Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands that help the body deal with stressful situations. The herb helps to reduce the increased levels of Cortisol in the human body, thus preventing an upsurge in the blood sugar levels in the body.
3. Improves Metabolic Rate
Apart from helping stimulate the blood-sugar and cholesterol levels in the human body, Ashwagandha can also help improve metabolism and other bodily functions like strengthening the immune system, endocrine system and maintaining the glucose level.
4. Manages the anxiety caused by Diabetes
Having adaptogenic (substances that modulate the body’s response to changing conditions and stress levels) qualities, Ashwagandha makes it difficult for stress hormone to reach the nervous system by blocking the pathways that lead to it, thus helping manage the anxiety, discomfort, insomnia, and depression caused due to Diabetes.
How To Consume Ashwagandha?
1. Ashwagandha Powder made from its roots or leaves should be consumed in quantities of 1 – 2 tsp (3 – 6 gm) daily. Few ways to consume Ashwagandha powder are:
- In Water: Boil the above-mentioned quantity of Ashwagandha Powder in 3 cups of water. Boil it for 15 minutes. Once boiled, strain the mixture and consume 1/4th cup twice daily.
- In Ghee: Roast the above-mentioned quantity of Ashwagandha Powder in Ghee and add 1tbsp of date sugar. Cool down to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. Add 1 tsp of the mixture to water or a glass of milk and drink.
2. Ashwagandha Capsules can be consumed in the quantities of 1 or 2 capsules daily
- With Water: Consume Ashwagandha Capsules along with plenty of water to lower down the gastrointestinal side effects.
- With Milk: Another convenient and easy way to consume Ashwagandha Capsule is to take it along with a cup of warm milk.
- Having no major side effect on the body as such, many studies conclude that Ashwagandha should not be consumed by breastfeeding and pregnant women as it might cause miscarriage.
- Ashwagandha can possibly interfere with the medicines prescribed to the people suffering from high BP and diabetes so it is always beneficial to consult your doctor before adding it to your diet.
- Said to irritate the gastrointestinal tract, the consumption of Ashwagandha can often cause stomach ulcers or cause it to aggravate.
- Ashwagandha can effectively regulate the high levels of BP, but should not be consumed by those who experience a low BP often, as consuming it may cause a drop in the already low blood pressure.